Navigating Nights Out – Part 2

What a difference three days make! I was so, so low last time I wrote. I had suicidal thoughts and I hadn’t had a drink, which is insane. My mind was in overdrive, not being able to sort out one thought before eight more descended without warning. I hadn’t really spoken to anyone at all and left with my own thoughts and not able to share them – it’s a recipe for disaster. Overthinking everything and not being able to let it out with anyone I trust was a burden I could have done without.

But here I am today, it’s 4.30am and I feel great. Ok, ok – I got up at 12 noon so shouldn’t feel too bad, but even so – credit where credit’s due! The anomaly is that I haven’t really done anything to help myself per se, but I feel 70% better than I did three days ago. 70% is good…for me.  I’m at 4 months, 3 weeks, 5 days sober – which is pretty close to 5 months!  Eek 🙂

So what’s different? I haven’t been on the support site that I find extremely helpful very much, so can’t attribute it to that…but I had plans! I was keeping my mind occupied. Not letting thoughts eat away at my entire being. I decided to come home (away from The Olds who were driving me mad with their very particular ways) and have some actual fun, sort out some necessary stuff, see my best friend, see my favourite rug rat and there’s still more to come! 😉

All of which brings me not very neatly to last night. I had been invited to the 40th birthday party of an old school friend that I haven’t seen for about 20 years. She and I both moved from Warwickshire to Manchester and having discovered that we don’t live that far from one another via Facebook, I thought it would be great to pop in and see her and wish her a happy birthday. When I got all the necessary greetings out of the way, I was sitting with a couple of her very good friends and their partners. And they were drunk. Drunky drunk.

I had to spend the first half an hour trying to understand why I was ‘brave’ to go on my own, as one girl would not stop telling me. Apparently she would never have gone to a party on her own. I don’t understand this because, if you choose not to be in a relationship with anyone, are you supposed to stay in? I don’t feckin’ think so. I’m single – not a recluse!!! I like going out. There’s nothing more boring than staying in when there’s a world of interesting people and places out there to discover. (This goes for if you’re single or in a relationship to be honest – it’s just that I’m single at the mo’!) Anyway, this person was not particularly interesting, but I decided to go for a cigarette with her (yeah yeah, bad for me, I know!). We somehow got onto the topic of the imminent world shortage of prosecco and I said, well they can’t blame me anymore because I stopped drinking. That was met with a look of utter disbelief and an invitation for a night with her to drink cheap prosecco from Lidl (I’m not sure why…but she could barely find her mouth with her cig so I wasn’t about to ask for an explanation). I explained again, a…little…more…slowly…, that I don’t drink, so whilst it would be lovely to go out with her one night (it’s fine, she wouldn’t remember in the morning…would she??), I’d be on soft drinks. ‘Oh, how about a champagne afternoon tea then?’ Oh Christ it’s hard work. I took it all in good spirit and realise that due to her inebriation she was less than able to compute, but it gets so tiring! And she then proceeded to inform me how much she drinks, why, with whom, when, what makes her puke, blah blah – needless to say, I managed to avoid her for one-to-one cigarettes after that.

Nightmare number two was her friend’s husband. Funnily enough, drunk. He was sitting right next to his wife – winking at me. He was 49 years old. He must have told me nine times and inbetween those, he was asking me to guess how old he was. So obviously I was guessing mid-50s…(I never said I was nice). When he wasn’t declaring, ‘Even though I flirt, the wife has got nothing to worry about, I always go home with her’ (poor cow) I would find him at the bar with fag lady, on the dance floor with fag lady, near the buffet with fag lady….you get the picture. It was awful. I felt so sorry for his wife – he told her more than once that she was a lucky lady to have him. I wanted to cry for her. I wanted to punch him. Which I would have if I had been drinking. Why are some people such arseholes? He asked me if I wanted a drink, so I asked for an orange juice. He looked perplexed. I never did get that drink.

Which brings me to fag lady’s date. He was very nice, had been drinking but wasn’t too bad and was quite funny. He asked me why I wasn’t drinking and it took every fibre of my being to stop myself saying that when I drank alcohol I would end up in the same state as his date. I told him that I can’t handle the drink and can never just have a few. He told me about losing his mum to cancer last year and having done Dry January this year, raising an amazing £900 for cancer research. Since then he has become a raging alcoholic (his words). He was asking me about not drinking and asked what was the final straw that made me stop. I could have said anything at all in a roundabout way to give him an inkling of why. But oh no, not me!! I blurted out ‘well, trying to kill myself about 8 times last year was an indication that I needed to do something about the drink’. Stunned silence from him followed by apologising. I felt so awful, but at the same time, relieved to be able to vocalise an issue that I had been struggling with just a few days before. He actually handled it well and I did apologise. He spent the rest of the night asking if I was ok. Grand…

There was a lot more fun and dancing to be had for the night and I believe the four people who now know my ‘issues’ will not have remembered a thing this morning. It was a great night, but I think I’m going to have to reign in my honesty. The thing is I find it hard to lie, to pretend that I’m on an even footing with someone who is really drunk when I’m stone cold sober. I tried it with fag lady who was telling all sorts of stories – they must have sounded great in her head, not so much in mine!! I can’t keep up a pretence of laughing at something that doesn’t make sense! So they cotton on to your sobriety and want to know more and more.

I guess the plus side is that, had I been drinking, I would have punched the narcissistic arsehole of a husband, given fag lady evil looks all night and tried to get off with her fella. So my conclusion is that I’m better off telling people a bit too much about me and letting them be the ones to make fools of themselves. Not very charitable of me, but given the way my mood fluctuates I could be at rock bottom again tomorrow and need to look out for me, however selfish that might seem.

Roll on more socialising and some business this week – I’ll take each situation as it comes and deal with it from there. What more can I do?

Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday everyone 😉

Over and out and about xxx

My Creative Mind…

LittleMissSober

So it’s been a while, again, and I’m currently at 4 months, 3 weeks and 1 day alcohol free!

I had my first craving a couple of weeks ago.  Whilst helping out in Treezer’s pub, they ran out of nearly all beer as it was shutting down and someone decided they wanted a wine and soda instead of their usual tipple.  So, I opened a bottle of white and it felt like caressing an old friend, but like an old school friend that used to bug me 😉  It was familiar, but a little foreign.  It felt good, but wrong.  I want it, but I can’t have it.  There’s a deeper meaning here that I’m trying to suppress, but it may bubble to the surface later.

Anyhoo, it was weird – it was the first time I’ve dealt with wine since I stopped drinking and I decided to have a…

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20th Century Old-Boys

LittleMissSober

Good evening.  I have had a funny couple of weeks.

The psycho ex GF has been ringing me?????  The reason I was drinking so much and have been left without a job – and she decides to ring me and has the audacity to ask if it’s weird.  Errrrrrr, yeppity yep.  Pretty much.  I’m not being nasty to her.  Being nasty to someone hurts nobody really except the person being nasty.  So I’m being my ‘normal’ self (but with a slightly bewildered look on my face) and will let karma do the rest.

I still haven’t had a drink!  It’s been 110 days today!  And I put myself through the ultimate test. Let me explain.

My best friend deserted me and moved to Nottinghamshire which you’ll find on the opposite side of the world to Manchester.  She had a job opportunity a couple of years ago and she selfishly snapped…

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Navigating Nights Out – Part 1

Good evening!  I’m going to have to start writing at a more respectable hour of the day as I’m tired and know that I should be preparing for bed, but what the hell.  Why not?  And by the time I’ve finished, I’m sure I’ll be wide awake again!

I’ve called this ‘Part 1’ because I get a feeling there may be more to report on in the future!

I went out last Saturday to try a new place in town that has been taken over by a couple of creative people who will be using the space to show artwork, hold events of different natures, promote creative iniatives etc.  On this particular night they were hosting Guerilla Eats – an array of different street food sellers who would be able to sell from there for around two weeks.

We all met at a different bar and when I got there a few had already turned up and as it happened my friend and two others had been drinking since 1pm and even been home for a nap in the meantime!  Once everyone had arrived we had a drink (cranberry for me) and made our way to The Wonder Inn for some of the marvellous food on offer.  I had a double beef burger with cheese, which might not sound exciting, but it was awesome and perhaps one of the best burgers I have EVER had.  To wash it down I had a San Pellegrino lemonade.  There wasn’t much of a bar going on here and for the ‘drinkers’ there were a few speciality beers and ales, so I was surprised they even had San Pellegrino as a soft option! (They are nice, too nice, but full of sugar.) Two drinks later, the general consensus was to move to another bar – fair enough.

Now, I had been thinking about this night out for a while.  I have been out since becoming sober, to a number of things in actual fact, and haven’t overthought the issues of everyone else having a drink.  For some reason this night was different.  Perhaps it was because it was a Saturday night? I don’t know, perhaps I had a sixth sense that it would be different, you know? A bit more ‘full on’.

Anyway,  having thought about it for so long and knowing that there was nothing different about my mindset – I knew things would be fine.  Strange, but fine.

So, here I am in the middle of ‘The Alchemist’ in the Northern Quarter of Manchester on a Saturday night.  Everyone is drunk.  Everyone.  With each round of drinks – bourbon cocktail, gin cocktail, bottles of beer, pints of lager – I have a mocktail.  And as the first one is passed over the bar, all of my friends slur, ‘Woooooow, that looks amaaaaaaaaazing’.  Too pineapple-y, actually, but thanks! (They lost interest by the time I got to my favourite – an apple mojito!)  Half an hour in and a friend of a friend, and the bar manager, decided to get a round of tequila shots.  He puts one in front of everyone including me and as my hand was half-raised to say, thanks but I don’t drink, my friend launched herself at me and locked me within her arms and shouted ‘Nooooooo – she can’t! I’ll protect yooooou…..’

I was in stitches and the shot was given to a deserving member of bar staff.  A lot of the group were giving me funny so I said that yes, not drinking includes not drinking tequila shots!  I get the feeling that they felt sorry for me, like I was really losing out. I much preferred sambuca shots to be honest – never was much of a fan of tequila 🙂

Prior to this display of love and ‘protection’ by my friend Hannah, I was asked by one of the guys why wasn’t I drinking.  I haven’t really been asked this so directly before and I said I gave up just before New Year’s Eve and have been sober since then.  To which he replied, ‘But when are you going to start drinking again?’

‘Well, I haven’t thought about starting again.  All being well, I won’t.  I feel a lot better and can survive without it.’

‘But wouldn’t you rather have a drink now? We’re all drinking…’

‘Oh my goodness, even if I chose to tonight, I can’t.  I’m on medication.’

‘When do you take your medication?’

‘Huh?’

‘What time of day?’

‘Err, in the morning.’

‘Well, you should be alright now then?’

‘No, it’s medication to deter me from drinking.  I take it every day.  I can’t have a drink because if I had alcohol now I would be very ill – vomitting, pounding headache, racing heart rate…I would probably have to go to hospital.’

‘Can you sick it up?  Not take one in the morning? It would be worth it, wouldn’t it?  You could drink more to numb the pain?’

OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!!! Who is the fucking alcoholic here?  I’ve probably explained LESS to Hannah who wanted to ‘protect me’ from tequila shots (bless her) than I have to this dickhead who now knows I am taking medication for alcoholism and he is trying to tempt me to have a drink.  Fucking idiot.  Fucking ignorant, uneducated, dumbass fucking twat.  And he’s a teacher!  FUCK ME!!!!!

I was talking to the bar manager at one point a bit later and we were laughing about the shot incident where Hannah and I nearly ended up falling on the floor, legs akimbo.  As I was bemoaning the downside of mocktails being too sweet a lot of the time, I said, ‘I expect I am your least favourite type of customer, not drinking alcohol and moaning about the non-alcoholic drinks!!’  He looked completely affronted and said that the most important thing to him is making the customers happy and if they want a drink without alcohol, then the job of the bar staff is to make me a drink without alcohol.  And if I find that too sweet, tell them and the next one will be tweaked to make it better for me!  He was a charming, lovely man (also drunk as he was off-duty) and made me feel quite special amongst the mayhem of merry punters.

So, the night carried on.  I danced my little socks off, declined a dance with the arsehole teacher which made me feel better (!) and I didn’t get home until 3.30am!  Dirty stop out.

I suppose that there are always going to be people that can’t accept that some people choose not to drink, whether they know the reason for that choice or not.  And there will always be those people that just accept a person’s decision without question.  And we sober superstars must accept that.  I have no desire to talk to an idiot, arsehole, thoughtless dickhead, let alone try to change them and the way they think.  I really do think that some people are truly, truly dumb.  Others are jealous and may try to force you into having a drink because they can’t do it and don’t want to see you succeed.

Don’t give your time and energy to people who don’t want you to succeed, please.  Don’t ever feel like you have to explain yourself to anyone about the reasons you choose not to drink alcohol.  If someone asks a legitimate question, sure, answer it.  They might be asking because they want to do the same and want your opinion.  They might genuinely care and want to understand so that they can offer you support.  Hannah nearly crushed me with her arms and almost knocked me off my chair because she cares and didn’t want me to be subjected to the temptation.  Given, it wasn’t exactly discrete, but no-one else said a word after that! (And neither of us ever really ‘do’ discrete anyway.)

Nights out – they are a minefield for us for all sorts of reasons – but I can’t wait for the next one!

I’m off to make a hot milk as I’m not so sleepy anymore 😉

Toodle-oo for now xx

It’s been a while…

Hello! Well, I haven’t been here for a while, but I thought I would say hello. Day 94 and I’m feeling proud of myself for that! I am full of disbelief – I knew that I was finding it easy, but there was a niggle of doubt as to whether I would be able to stick it. It is a massive achievement, given some of the shite I’ve had to deal with since I stopped drinking alcohol and would normally have turned to alcohol to help me deal with said shite.  I can only pray that I continue to have no cravings or moments of weakness.

My mum made me feel awesome today (mums can be quite good at that most of the time but this was something else for me!) She has been very forthcoming with words of praise since I stopped drinking alcohol. ‘I’m really proud of you’, ‘You are doing so well’, ‘Keep up the good work’. We went out shopping today and my mum likes to go for a drink (usually on a Saturday, but Good Friday is fine too). While we were out, she asked me if I was ok with her and my dad having a drink – it was absolutely fine with me. I sat and sipped my elderflower pressė. Then, back at home later on this afternoon – out of the blue – she says, ‘Do you know, what you have done is better than anyone else in this entire family has been able to do and followed through with it?’ (Ooooh, this’ll be a long list, thought I!! Jokes) ‘What’s that mummy dearest?’ I replied, in the polite manner that we always talk to each other… ‘You recognised that you can’t handle drinking alcohol and you sought help and did something about it. No-one else in this family as EVER done that’.

I suppose I should point out here that my family are all big drinkers. BIG drinkers. Apart from the ones that aren’t and those ones don’t drink AT ALL. We’re an all or nothing family of drinkers, it would seem.

My uncle is coming to visit tomorrow and I actually can’t wait to tell him I’ve stopped drinking. He likes a drink and if the slightest thing sets him off when he’s had a few, he turns into a nasty drunk. Which is what happened to me (among other things) when I was drunk. I had already thought last week that I can’t wait to tell him that I can’t handle alcohol, that I suffer with depression and recognised that I had to make a change. My mum saying what she said today made me feel so happy. Happy that it makes her happy, happy that people recognise it’s no mean feat. And I also felt a pang of sadness, because I think my mum would have liked it if more of the family had been able to do the same a lot earlier on. I’ve achieved a major goal and I’m going to bloody well share it!! At least I know The Olds are proud, and that really matters 😉

Hope you all have a peaceful Easter, feel proud of your achievements and don’t be afraid to share them with your loved ones.  Alternatively, grab a ladder, climb up to the roof of your house, and SHOUT ABOUT IT!!

Toodle-oo for now xxx

Grateful

Well, I have done 75 days sober!

Today I have been lucky enough to meet some of the most genuine, friendly, caring and supportive people from the world of SWANS and Soberistas.

It has been so special meeting them face to face and building a bond that I hope will continue into the future. Meeting people who share the same issues and who understand what we are going through is a big part of the recovery process – so today has meant a great great deal to me. I did have a bit of a moan about not feeling brilliant since I stopped drinking alcohol. I’m proud to have reached today, without a doubt, but there are things that aren’t going great:
1) I’m not sleeping (approx 15 hours in the last week)
2) My skin is shit
3) I’ve not lost weight
4) My depression hasn’t improved

But then some of the positives…
1) I’ve not been in hospital due to overdosing on meds
2) I’ve not blacked out and lost great big chunks of time
3) I have been out and met more people in 10 weeks than I have in the last 10 years (no joke)
4) I have overcome my fear of speaking in front of people (although I felt today was all over the place due to zero hours sleep last night)
5) I have been more honest than I’ve ever been
6) I can remember chatting to people (although I didn’t get over my confusion today of real/online names!)
7) I haven’t been angry/violent

I think these outweigh by a mile the things that aren’t ‘going great’.

It’s about weighing things up realistically and yes, sleep and depression are biggies, but their time will come. I will, at some point in the future, be the all-round well-rounded person I can be.

Patience is a virtue 😉

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone xx

Back down

Hey there – a warning to any reader: I am feeling very low today so won’t be a happy blog!

So I suffer from depression and have done for about 10 years.  I take medication, although I’m not entirely sure of its efficacy.  I am up and down like a tart’s knickers.  I have been ok for a while and today, I just want to lie in bed, watching rubbish on TV and trawling through similar rubbish on the web.  I have just eaten three two-finger KitKats in succession because I can’t be arsed to go for anything outside of my bedroom.  I haven’t had, nor do I want, contact with anyone.  I have replied to a message out of necessity and politeness, but other than that –  nothing.

I went to a talk last night about the Law of Attraction and my behaviour today would have them all in paroxysms of disgust.  I downloaded a type of gratitude diary and filled in some of that.  I chatted about the positive things that have happened to me recently – which made for a short discussion!  I listened to tips on how to apply the Law of Attraction.  I listened to a room full of people declare that ‘it really works’, as if trying to convince themselves more than anyone else.

I get it… but I’m not entirely sure about it.

Anyway, you’d think that all that positivity would have rubbed off a little bit? But no – between the time I fell asleep with thoughts of all I could have swathing through my brain to the time I woke up – some heavy weight decided to take up residence and screw me down.

As quickly as that and with no warning.  With no reason.

So, I can just see the lucky side of being sober in this situation.  I need to remember the necessity of being sober in this situation.  I’m depressed, yes.  But I’m not taking an overdose and being kept in hospital because my heart rate is that of someone about to die of a heart attack.  I can’t face the thought of going outside, of having to engage with anyone –  nope.  But at least I won’t be wandering the streets at all hours of the morning on my own, getting into fights – and not remembering any of it.  I want to be alone – yes indeed! But I have commitments this weekend and I will make sure I fulfil them, rather than get so wildly drunk and not give a shit who I let down or who I upset.  That’s the difference.

Sobriety doesn’t cure all – but it enables me to stay safe, stay alive and be trusted again.

And it’s Mothering Sunday this weekend!  I have daughterly duties to undertake!  My mum told me how proud of me she is last night on the phone and I still feel like shit.

Why?

The worst thing about depression is not knowing why you are depressed.  Not being able to put into words the reason you feel so dark and low and worthless and insignificant.  But at least I can say why it’s better without alcohol (on Day 74!)  I can clutch onto that tiny positive for now.

Happy weekend to you all and stay sober and safe :-/